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tv   Meet the Press  NBC  March 21, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. >> this sunday, decision time. a special preview of the historic house vote on holt care, expected just hours from now. have the democrats reached the magic number of 216 for passage, after a personal visit from the president to house democrats saturday? >> it is in your hands. it is time to pass health care reform for america and i am
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confident that you are going to do it. >> what will the final bill achieve? with us exclusively the leaders in the middle of the fight, house majority leader steny hoyer of maryland and gop leader john boehner of ohio. then, what are the stakes for the obama presidency and how large will health care loom in the fall campaign? the political debate this morning between the party chairmen, democratic national committee chairman tim kaine versus republican national committee chairman michael steele. plus insights and analysis on where the president goes from here, with nbc news chief white house correspondent chucked to, pbva's tavis smiley, democrat anita dunne and republican ed gillespi. in our "meet the press" minute we remember liz carpenter, pioneer in journalism, politics and the women's rights movement who died yesterday at the age of
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89. her feisty spirit was on display right here 33 years ago, as she argued the case for the equal rights amendment. but first, down to the wire on health care reform, the house votes just hours from now. president obama made a last-minute trip to the hill yesterday afternoon for the final push. joining us now, two men at the center of that fight, house republican leader john boehner of ohio and house democratic leader steny hoyer of maryland. both of you welcome back to "meet the press" on a big day. >> good to be with you, david. >> nice to see you. >> leader hoyer, 216 votes. where are you this morning? >> we're going to get those 216 votes because we believe they understand that americans want health care reform by overwhelming majority. >> do you have them as we sit here? >> i think we'll have 216 votes when the roll is called yes. >> but not yet? you're not nailed down, a few behind? >> there are still members looking at it, trying to make up their minds, we think 216 plus
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votes when we call the roll. >> what makes you so confident? what's the final push? >> because for 100 years, over 100 years, david, as you well know, presidents of both parties have been saying we need to make sure that all americans have access to affordable health care. george bush said that. his father said that. richard nixon said it in 1974, so that this is the time to do it. we've come the furthest we've ever come to getting this done, and we're going to get it done today in the house of representatives. >> fair to say there will not be a vote called if you don't have the 216? >> we're going to have a vote. we're going to have 216. >> either way. >> we're going to pass this way? >> either way you'll have a vote. >> we're going to pass this vote, david. >> leader boehner, are they going to have the votes? >> it's clear from steny they don't have the votes yet. you have to think about this, 54 speeches by the president over the last year, a year's conversation with the american people and they've been heavily engaged in this conversation for
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nine months. the senate bill's been out there now for three months and yet, after all of this hand wringing, all of this debate, millions of americans upset on both sides of this debate, we're about to make this historic change on a purely partisan vote, and i think of the american people stay engaged in this fight for the next few hours that this fight is not lost yet. this fight for having real health care reform on a step by step basis to make our current system work better really can happen but first we have to stop this bill which will ruin our economy, ruin our health care system, the best health care system in the world. >> you'll respond to some of the substance of that. i thought rex babbin in "the sacramento bee" cartoonist summed up the final push what it looks like. speaker pelosi, rough rider trying to herd cats in the democratic caucus. to the leader's point, why is this so close? if you look at the opinion
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surveys, the public's against it? >> no, i don't think that's right. the economist poll shows the majority of americans are for it. kaiser shows that americans are for it. "wall street journal" poll that came out a few days ago shows -- >> that's your poll. majority want it completed but the majority are opposed to it. >> if you look at every one of the internals, david, about stopping insurance companies from preventing preexisting conditions from getting insurance, from putting so much money on you have to spend per year that you go bankrupt, and not putting on lifetime caps, those insurance reforms, those processed reforms to insurance companies that are hurting americans are all supported by overwhelming numbers of people. >> steny, listen, there's no question -- >> -- we ought to have a national exchange so the free market can operate so you can have transparency and competition. let me also say about this vote, david, you remember prescription drug bill? you remember that it took them three hours from 3:00 a.m. in
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the morning to 6:00 a.m. in the morning to bludgeon their members to get it to pass, and it was very controversial, and guess what? people liked that prescription drug program in and fact we're going to make sure that the failures of that program to make sure all americans could afford it, we're going to close the doughnut hole for seniors so i think that americans are for this bill. what they don't like is the divisiveness, the confrontation and very frankly the misrepresentation >> david, david, there are insurance reforms and health care reforms that we can agree upon. we talked about it at the white house during the summer, but what the american people don't want is this big government takeover of our health care system. 160 new boards, commissions, mandates, $500 billion in tax increases on an economy that is supposed to be producing jobs, and $500 billion being stolen from medicare in order to fund a
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new government entitlement program. they want no part of this. >> let me interject a question. -- >> stolen? john, you know that is not true. this is not a government takeover. it's a creation of open markets with private insurance companies offering insurance to people who don't have it. >> it is a government takeover. a mandate on every american to have health insurance. a mandate on every employer to provide health insurance. how about the health choices czar that's going to decide what every health insurance policy looks like within five years. >> let me interject about the tone of this debate. this was the scene on capitol hill yesterday, where he had tea party activists protesting the vote and in some cases t got quite ugly, where we had instances of anti-gay epithets being hurled at congressman frank, racist epithets hurled by protesters. are you concerned, leader boehner that the republican is associated with tea party
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activists who are among these protesters? >> there were some ice lated incidents on the hill yesterday that were reprehensible and should not have happened but let's not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of americans are scared to death, and millions of americans want no part of this growing size of government here in washington. we've got the best health care system in the world, and we're about to take this dangerous step, very dangerous step toward the government running the whole thing. that's not what the american people want. >> we've heard this debate over weeks and months and we're not going to solve that now, this is very much a question about the role of government in a system like health care, but i want to ask first of all, leader hoyer, a comment on some of the protests that you saw yesterday and the tone of the debate at the end. >> i think the tone of this entire debate has been denigrated, has been brought down frankly by the rhetoric of government takeover, socialism,
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things that are simply not accurate or true but it has put people he in fear and when they're fearful and angry, they don't look at the substance but when you ask them questions about the substance of the bills which is the point i made earlier, david, they say yes that's thank makes sense, that's common sense, yes that, makes sense, whether it's the insurance forms, the affordability. this is the biggest deficit redungs bill we'll have an opportunity to vote on in a very long period of time and very frankly john boehner said in 1993 that if we adopted president clinton's economic program the economy was going to go downhill very, very quickly, unemployment would rocket up, and the deficits would explode. exactly the opposite happened. >> all right. >> best economy we've had in my lifetime. >> leader hoyer, i want to get to a couple of substantive points. briefly, three top things that americans will feel from health care reform this year. >> availability of insurance, availability for small businesses, for seniors the doughnut holes are going to be closed, people who have children
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who are up to 25 or 26 years of age will have access to be on their insurance policies, immediate reduction in prices for small business, they're going to have group, availability of group policies and tax credits for small businesses and individuals to get insurance. >> but the 32 million don't get covered until 2014. >> we'll phase them in, that's accurate, david, and we'll phase them in because this is a very large, complex program. >> david, most of this doesn't go into effect for four years. >> he's correct. >> except the tax increases and medicare cuts go into effect immediately. we have ten years of medicare cuts, ten years of tax increases, to pay for six years of this new program. and while -- >> john, you make that point but we're $1 trillion saving over the next 20 years. >> we're going to save money from this, the point is just not true. >> and in fact -- >> the $300 billion to fix the
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doctor reimbursement problem is not in the bill and everybody knows -- >> what was in your bill, john? >> and everybody knows it's going to be dealt with. >> why didn't you put it in your bill, john? >> they take $70 billion out of the class act, this is the new long-term care insurance program and use it to pay for current benefits and the $500 billion they take out of medicare, they're stealing from medicare to start a new entitlement program and if there are savings for medicare, why wouldn't we roll it back in to save medicare and to prolong the trust fund that's there to fund it? >> leader boehner, there's a question of the cost of inaction. ron brownson writes it about it in his "national journal" column. he writes "in all cbo has projected that the senate bill would raise enough revenue and sufficiently cut existing spending to both cover its costs and reduce the federal deficit in the near and long-term. for fiscal hawk its it's a powerful incentive for action, but equally compelling could be the price of inaction, if obama's plan fails as president
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clinton's did it's likely that no president would attempt to seriously expand coverage for many years. independent medicare actuary projected under current trends the number of uninsured will increase 10 million to about 57 million by 2019, providing uncompensated care to many uninsured people would further restrain physicians and hospitals and inflate premiums as those providers shift costs to their patients. why would you not conclude even a flawed bill as you might see it is better than nothing. >> i don't disagree with ron there. there's nobody in washington talking about inaction. we've laid out common sense steps that will lower the cost of health insurance, according to the congressional budget office by up to 10% and this step by step approach preserves the greatest health care system in the world. it doesn't take this dangerous step toward government-run health insurance so we can take steps and we need to take steps, but we need to do it together. never in the history of our
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country have we made such a big momentous decision on a straight party line vote. >> well we made a very big momentous decision in 1993, as i pointed out, on the partisan line, no republicans voted for it, we had the best economy as a result in our lifetimes. however, having said that, the dangerous takeovers, this language really distracts us from the debate on the substance. harry and louise said in 1994, "you're going to pay more and get less if we do something." we did nothing and guess what happened? they paid more and they got less. he's absolutely right when he makes that quote. this is an opportunity both to save money in the short term and in the long-term, and unlike your program, which included 3 million people, this includes 32 million people. >> but the reality is, this assumes. the congress will do what it says it will do going forward. >> yes t does. >> you know there is indeed the chance that some of the
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financing, raising taxes down the line which won't happen until 2018 may not come to pass. you can't take the cbo numbers to the bank, can you? >> david, you're correct on that and congress has to show courage and the american people have to show judgment as we go forward, whatever we do. you're absolutely right on that, as somebody who believes that fiscal posture confronting our country is one of the most serious that we have, we need to get back to fiscal discipline and fiscal balance and the surpluses that we had during the clinton administration, you're absolutely right on that. we're going to have to show courage and do we hat we say. >> leader boehner you said this about the november race for the politics decision. >> the american people do not want any part of this, and if anyone thinks the american people are going to forget this vote, just watch. >> that to me, i may be wrong about this, that does sound like a threat. are democrats going to lose the house in the fall because of the vote? >> i don't know whether they will or not. our goal is to regain the
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majority, it's a steep incline. we want to fight for a smaller, less costly more accountable government. >> the campaign for republicans will be about repealing health care? >> if this bill passes, we will have an effort to repeal the bill, and we'll do it the same way that we approached health care on a step by step basis. i'd have a bill on the floor the first thing out, to eliminate the medicare cuts, eliminate the tax increases, elimbinate the mandate that every american has to buy health insurance and the employer mandate that's going to cover jobs. >> that would cover far fewer positions. leader hoyer -- >> it won't bankrupt our country, david. >> the impact on 2010, does this cost democrats the house? >> no, i think we're going to win the house back. i think the american public saw the republican leadership for 12 years and they decided they didn't like that in '06 and didn't like the republican presidency either in '08 so they changed course and they asked us
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to do strong things, and john mccain in that campaign said what did we need? we needed to have americans have access to affordable health care, all americans. john mccain said in the debate in '08. >> i agree with him. >> obama said the same thing and that's what we're doing. >> we're out of time. leader hoyer how many votes shy are you? >> we're going to get the votes. >> low single digits? >> we're going to get the votes, low single digits certainly but we'll get the votes and have the votes this afternoon. >> trying to pin you down. thank you both very much. what are the stakes of the health care legislation for the obama presidency and how large about this be in the fall campaign? tim kaine versus michael steele. plus insights and annalysis from our roundtable, chuck todd, tavis smiley, anita dunne and ed gillespie.
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democratic party chairman tim kaine and republican party chairman michael steele square off in an exclusive debate.
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we're back. joined by democratic national committee chairman tim kaine and republican national committee chairman michael steele. welcome back to "meet the press." we've heard from the leaders about the runs, hits and errors on capitol hill today. let me ask a slightly larger
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question, chairman steele. if this is victory for the president on health care at what cost? >> i think it's defeat in the fall in november. you cannot ignore the past year of voters out there at town halls and tea parties and gatherings around the country talking and conversing with their congressmen and elected officials directly, and then not having that listened to, having a deaf ear turned to them by the administration, nancy pelosi, and harry reid and i think the ballot box will be the last voice in this big campaign for health care, because the voters have made it very clear in poll after poll they do not want what's presently being proposed. they want to take a slower step approach. they want the reforms but they want it in a way that really addresses the costs. you're going to add 33 million people to the health care rolls. how do you effectively pay for it. the way this is set up those folks don't hit the rolls until 2014 and later which jumps the cost over this $2 trillion. >> you wrote a letter this week to supporters of the rnc and say
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this, "after a year of pushing his radical socialist health care reform experiment, obama has just a few more days to wait to see if his number one priority sucks, if pelosi can success pli cajole, intimidate a bill americans are against by a 3:1 margin obama and the rest of the radical democrats in washington will see their dream of government rationed health care come true." democrats say with that heavy rhetoric this health care package is more moderate than president nixon put forward. >> not the way the american people see it. you're taking one-sixth of the economy and basically turning it on its head where you've got more government controls put in place, more commissions, more regulatory processes that are put in place. $406 billion in new taxes, $507 billion in cuts to medicare. you've got this, what is it, $940 billion cbo number, which even they say it's not the real number because there are other
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features of this when they kick in will jump the cost over $2 trillion so this is the predicate that has been laid for the health care debate that concerns people. i think that rhetoric is reflective of how people feel, and the concern that they have, and i think it's important for the administration and the leadership on the hill to understand that. >> governor, at what cost will victory abchieved? >> david, this is going to be great for democrats. i've been on a ballot seven times and won seven races. i would love to be running on this and i think the extreme nature of the rhetoric shows you how worried the other guys are. this bill passes right away seniors get a break on purchasing prescription medications, right away small businesses get a tax credit so they can afford to purchase insurance for their employees, right away, parents will be able to keep kids on their policies until they're 26 instead of 21 and right away we stop the most heartless abuses of insurance companies kicking sick people around. that's going to happen right away. the american public will see it.
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they won't see death panels, they won't see a government bureaucrat telling them to switch doctors. they won't see any of the fan tolls the other guys created so if going forward into 2010 if they want to campaign as the leader said a minute ago, leader boehner on repeal, let them do that like al landin campaigned to repeal social security in 1936. this is going to be a big win for the american public and every democrat everywhere will get a tailwind because they'll have solved a big issue and done it well. >> the argument let's pass this thing and you'll see the popularity increase. president clinton said the same thing, people will like the individual elements of the bill, they're going to come around to this, even though a majority oppose the president's version of health care reform now. and yet if you look at how the stimulus has fared, oh those many months ago that it was passed, here is our latest poll that shows views by the package passed by the administration, 42% think it's still a bad idea as opposed to 35% think it's a
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good idea. what makes you so sure that people are going to come around on health care? >> look, david, here is the deal. before the stimulus was passed the economy, as you know was shrinking at 6% a year, now growing at 6% a year. before the stimulus was passed the american economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month. we have is back to net even. this is not primarily about politics. it's primarily about solving an issue that presidents since teddy roosevelt to tried to solve. >> i'm asking you a political question, it's not always about merits. people don't feel the stimulus. >> what they see about the health care bill, there are some polls and you cited them overall people have concerns. there were some polls this week that showed a majority are in favor, in fact in the last six weeks there's been about a 13-point move in favor of health care reform but the thing that's important to know and i know you know this from your guys on the poll, if you poll about the individual elements, what do you think about reforming insurance so that they can't kick people off when they get sick or turn
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them down when they change jobs because of preexisting condition? the american public says thumbs up. what do you think about tax credits for small businesses, thumbs up. what do you think about parents having their kids on the policy -- i'm saying the package deal on the stimulus has not born fruit. what makes you so sure it's going to bear fruit on -- >> the economy is starting to go the right direction again. >> you're not creating jobs, governor. that's the core of this debate really is not so much about health care. >> you say we are creating jobs. >> tell that to the person who got a pink slip yesterday. the real sit people are being laid off, jobs are not being created and now you're about to take one-sixth of the nation's economy and turn it on its head at a time when you can ill afford to do that and the legacy here, this is the key thing that we need to focus on, if we don't get this right now and we're both in agreement we need to get this right, if we don't get it right, future generation also not forgive us for passing on
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the debt and deficits that will come as a result of spending money we do not have today. >> let me ask the other political corollary to this. here is a poll about congress, shows how people feel. would you vote to defeat and replace every single member of congress, including your own representative? 50% say yes. so in that case, chairman steele, how do you frame the debate about health care in the fall? is it about repeal? >> absolutely it's about repealing. you know who is framing the debate this fall? the people are. that's the beauty of what's happening right now. you've seen this surge across the spectrum, right, left, center, people expressing what they want. the problem has been from the very beginning of this debate, david, that the leadership has not listened. this administration, this congress has not listened to what people wanted. they've gotten on their cell phones in the middle of town hall meetings, they've asked for i.d.s, here in northern virginia, at town hall meetings, before you speak you got to let me know if you're in my district. people have an expression they
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want to make on this health care debate on the economy and the administration and the congress hasn't let them do it so yes this is very much about -- >> what about the tone of the debate? i asked the leaders about this, some of the racial epithets, anti-gay epithets among tea party activists. is there a danger for republicans to be associated with the tea party movement? >> no, it is not a danger and not a reflection of the movement of the republican party when you have idiots out there saying very stupid things. as leader boehner said that's reprehensible, we do not support that. you can have this debate without attacking a member of congress personally. >> do you think some of your own rhetoric in the rnc that slide show from your finance directorvillifying the speaker and the president talking about a socialist health care. >> inappropriate and should not have happened. >> what about your own fund-raising, does that rhetoric spur activeism that gets to -- >> there's a fine line between engaging your donors and
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activists to get them fired out, going out and do for to you raise money, et cetera, and saying something as we've heard yesterday that racial epithets and anti-gay language, there's a very bright line there for us to not cross. nothing we've done or said on either side, democrat or republican in the hot rhetoric of this, i think comes to that. what you had out there yesterday were a handful of people who just got stupid and said very ignorant things and neither party, i believe, are associated or should be associated with that. >> governor, let me get you back to framing the fall. you've got stubborn joblessness, a high unemployment rate. how do democrats use this health care vote to campaign in the fall? >> sure, we're the solutions party, david, that's the way we use it. i think the overheated rhetoric is one of the reasons why people, when they're asked about congress, say things like we should replace it. they want to see not rhetoric but results and so what we've seen with the democrats over the last year and a half is, the
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economy was in a freefall, and the previous administration wouldn't even pull the rip cord to pull out the parachute. this president has done the heavy lifting to get the economy growing again, done the heavy lifting to stop the job losses and we're doing something presidents since roosevelt tried, to provide security to americans with insurance and path to those who don't have it, and finally tackling the unsustainable growth in health care costs. that's what this bill does. i think the american public will always reward problem solvers over the folks who just throw rhetorical problems. we're solving problems. >> let me put something ron brownstein of "the national journal" wrote about the president's approach to issues like this. "the health care fight opened a second window into obama president key here is the association changed the
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directive more than nixon did. his same to stoeb a long-term political direction, one centered on a more activist government. everything else, the legislative tactics, even most individual policies, is negotiable. he wants to chart the course for the super tanker, not to steer it around each wave or decide which crates are loaded into its hull." from each of you, what have we learned about the president's approach to his job, to his presidency? >> i think he hit it on the head. this is a president who believes fundamentally in an activist government, not an activist business class, not an activist community of investors, and those who will create the wealth in an economy. he sees that being centered, coming out of the federal government, using the institutions and the apparati of fell government to achieve those ends. that is not what this country is founded on. it is fundamentally, goes against every economic approach that we've had, whether you like capitalism or not t has provided
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for the wealth that's been created in this nation. it has not been created by government, and that for me is a fundamental difference between a and a barack obama. >> what did we learn? >> david what, i'll say is we've learned the president is good to his campaign promise. he campaigned on the status quo is not working for the american public. the decade of the first decade of the century, people lost income. we were losing jobs, the stock market was tanking, laxed regulation led to meltdowns in the financial industry and the president campaigned saying we've got to change direction if we're going to serve our people and be competitive in a global economy and that's why we see the heavy lifting to get the economy going again to find a better energy future to reform education and yes, to do what so many presidents tried to do, try to solve americans' pressing health problems. i met a firefighter this week who has got a daughter about ready to graduate from college, has a congenital illness and said she's going to go off his policy and what can he do?
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when a bill like this passes and parents can keep kids on their policy until they're 26, or seniors get a break, we'll be solving problems, that's what this president was elected to do. >> do you think that either that you'll be back here on this program discussing grand consensus between republicans and democrats in the course of this administration on another issue? >> i hope so. yeah, i hope so. i really do, because the country can't take what we've just spent the last year doing. we cannot approach the big issues that we face the way we have. you cannot claim bipartisanship but then not invite the republican leadership to the table or even to be in the room. you cannot -- >> that of course would be disputed. >> david here's a good sign, senator schumer and senate graham an article two days ago, there can be bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. i wish there had been some republicans who would get on board with the health care bill that frankly owes an awful lot to their ideas. they're going to miss this opportunity but there will be
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other opportunities. >> to be continued. thank you both very much. >> all right. up next, where does president obama go from here? plus the latest on the american public's attitude to the president and congress. our roundtable what hes in, chuck todd, tavis smiley, anita dunne and republican ed gillespie after this brief station break.
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we're back with our roundtable, former white house advisers two insiders, republican ed gillespie and democrat anita dunne, chuck todd, and tavis smiley of pbs. welcome to all of you. here was the president friday that closed the sale rally that he had. he had some interesting things to say. listen to this. >> i don't know how passing health care will play politically but i know it's right. teddy roosevelt knew it was right. harry truman knew that it was
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right. ted kennedy knew it was right. and if you believe that it's right, then you've got to help us finish this fight. >> he mentioned some former presidents and of course, ted kennedy. all of whom couldn't get health care done. if, indeed, it proves that he does get it done, is this his crowning achievement, is this what puts him in the history books, anita? >> you know, david, i would think that given the fact that he's got another two and a half years of his administration there would be other achievements as well. there's no question this would be a huge thing to the american people for this congress and presidency to show that you really can still deal with big issues in this town which is something many people thought just wasn't possible and the political courage of taking on a very complex, very difficult issue that republican and democratic presidents have tried to deal with for over a century now is something that i think would be a significant achievement, but the winner is the american people who don't have to worry about insurance.
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>> ed gillespie, you've been here inside the white house dealing with very tough, controversial big issues in a presidency. what does this mean for president obama, do you see it differently? >> if he gets this done, it is historic. i think it's historically bad and that there would be a real price to pay for it november but there's no doubt the way they have pushed this bill through will have a long-term effect not only on our health care and economy but also on the future of washington, for someone who ran as a post partisan this has been a partisan process. ten years from now the discussion on the roundtable about why is the senate now just like the house in terms of the civil discourse and the lack of bipartisanship, and you know, the polarizing nature of it, we'll look back when they did health care got rid of the 60-vote margin and the senate lives by a simple majority rule. that has a long-term impact as well as negative. >> chuck todd, you studied the polling. you're involved with the polling. left, right and center the american people expected more
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from washington than this. >> they did. clearly the issue of p polarization is frustrating especially in the middle. on the issue of health care this gets at the philosophical divide between democrats and republicans. i've asked many a republican and many a democrat on this issue, it's health care coverage, is it a right or a privilege. that is a philosophical divide. on this issue it shouldn't be surprising we're sitting here so polarized. it's the fundamental reason why somebody is a democrat, believing in a more activist government or a republican believing in keeping government smaller. so sometimes when i was hearing the two party chairmen saying maybe on immigration and energy, that's because there are regional differences. this isn't a philosophical divide. this is truly one of the great philosophical divides. >> tavis when you strip away all the process which will melt away over time, in some of the
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rancorous feelings. >> i think the president deserves great respect for having the courage to take this issue on. several tried before and all failed. there's some good stuff in this bill, bad stuff in this bill. i think we have another four years of a death sentence for people who have preexisting conditions who aren't going to be covered. it takes too long to phase this in. if this vote can pass, 31 million, 32 million more americans are covered, but also true with the insurance people are the real winners here, there's so much more this bill, americans expected more, the insurance companies really won here. when i was last around this table that week of the stock, the insurance companies hit a 52-year high. they are happy about the vote given what it could have been. there's a lot to be done. former speaker gingrich yesterday suggested that democrats should pass this and that it's good if they pass it because it's going to hurt them the way that the democrats were
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hurt after lbj pushed through civil rights legislation, first of all it's a bad analogy to the speaker, number one but secondly there are some things that are right and if you're going to lose, go down swinging, i think this is an issue that's serious for all americans. >> i do have to respond to that, david. if it's so good for the insurance companies, why have they spent $200 million trying to defeat this? why has been such a pitched battle from that particular interest group and from those groups? the reality of this is, for all the republicans have talked about how it's a government takeover, this is very similar as chairman kaine said to the republican approach from 1993. what it says to the american people, david, is that washington has changed, that they're ready to stand up to one of the most powerful groups of interests, the insurance companies, that they're ready to stand up to the forces of fear, that have kept people from dealing with this issue for so long, and that the reality is that as of next week at this
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time, you're going to be talking about the fact that college students can stay on their parents' policies after they graduate in may or june this year, until they're 26, they won't be without insurance. you're going to be talking about the fact that children who have preexisting conditions can get insurance which they cannot do right now. you're going to be talking about small businesses getting tax credits to cover their employees. you're going to be talking about very different things that are huge benefits. >> i want to get to some of how the politics lays out. let's talk this question, chuck, of at what cost? what are the leadership lessons of the health care fight for this administration? >> i think they're going to at this point look at a couple of things. number one, the mistake of letting congress write this thing, the mistake of just putting it all on them and it was sort of overlearning. i think every presidency does this, they overlearn the conventional wisdom of stakes from the previous presidency and in this one the overlearned lesson here, bill clinton didn't
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work with congress close enough, didn't do these things so they let it happen and let too many odd issues bubble up and sort of overtake some of the bigger issues and then you look at the bipartisanship. i mean the fact is, they had a white house wouldn't even have been worried about this, probably would have had it passed two months ago and harry reid lost and when they lost even the one or two republicans they could have gotten, it set up the situation that they're facing now. >> as we ride up with the party chairman they're counting on a strategy they hope support increases and white house advisers believe there will be increased support once it gets passed, once it gets passed a point of mischaracterization. you look at stimulus example where that still hasn't come to pass yet. >> couple of points. one they've clearly made the determination politically that they are more damned if they
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don't than damned if they do. i believe the republicans can possibly take over not just the house but the senate. if they jam this through the senate and through the house i think question. it's going to be a lot of blood on the floor at the end of the day and not going to be republican blood. second, i'm not sure it's actually, we're talking here as though it's a done deal and that it's going to pass and my head says that's the case, because if the speaker of the house brings the bill to the floor generally it passes. my gut tells me it may not be. we could be in for a very long day and it would not surprise me if this bill collapses. >> anita to that point -- >> the speakers athe always number one seat. >> inside the white house do you think this is done? >> inside the white house they believe by the end of the day a vote in the house will pass this bill. >> which is dynamic for a sunday. not a typical sunday. let's play politics here. the president says we're sort of
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obsessed with that here. and he doesn't face the voters. let's look, everybody, around the table, at a couple of voters, a couple of congressmen who are voting no one yes. respective jason altmire from western pennsylvania, steelworkers staged a stit-in, in his office yesterday urging him to do the right thing and vote for the bill. he is from a very tough district that mccain carried 55-44 in 2006. on the other side john botcherri voting yes, after voting no. he says now something is better than nothing. chuck, what are the consequences for each of these congressmen as they go into the fall? >> i'll say this. i do think that we to assume
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that the next six months is going to look like it is today is clearly to say that it's clearly you haven't watched american politics over the last three cycles. to sustain this anger, and this ability to rally conservatives, rally independents against democrats and some of these swing districts i think is going to be tricky. that said, you know, there are some guys who basically made the decision, well, it is easier to go down at least the base of the democratic party, will be with me in the fall, and you know, this is going to be a base turnout election, so don't depress the base. that was sort of the political argument that they were saying, but i'll tell you look with the middle, you know, if they don't see what they're getting and see, that's i think the tricky thing, selling this thing in six months, people aren't going to see --
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>> i respect chuck's analysis and i think he's right about this. i'm not naive. the problem in washington everything is about political calculation. it's never about doing the right thing on behalf of the american people. it's about is this going to help me, is this going to hurt me, does it help or hurt in my fund-raising, am i going to win or am i going to lose? lbj did the right thing on civil rights because it was right for the country. you cannot become a transformational president, we cannot become transformational people if everything is about media, market and political calculation. nobody's getting to the heart of the fact that americans are dying in this debate. we never talked about health disparities. i was in chicago yesterday, 3,200 black folk every year die in chicago just because of health disparities. we got to move beyond this, i'm not naive, we have to move beyond political calculation if we're going to advance big issues in america. >> do you think congressmen, two of which i just cited, are they capable of moving beyond that calculation? >> i don't know them personally. i think washington in general
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has not proven. >> if they feel they want to they have to get through the clearing gate of an election. >> absolutely. i don't know them personally. i just know when you look at washington at a glance it certainly appears to the everyday american. >> the question before, was it better for republicans to have a bill passed or not to have a bill passed. what's better for republicans in 2010? >> i think when this bill passes people say it will get better over time. i don't think that's the case. the details gets out there more, voters hear about it, i understand there's $10 billion in funding for the irs to collect the new taxes to enforce the individual mandate t would take 16,500 new irs officials to do all of this. this is massive and when people see it and democrats same hombrage it's a government takeover. it is, and the voter also see it and reject it and one last thing, politics, yes, we live in a representative democracy and the majority of voters think this is a bad idea and the majority in congress are going
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to disagree. and in november we're going to say we told you so. >> the president got the surge through for the war. >> i think national security is an area where as commander in chief you have to, you have a moral obligation to do that. the president feels he has a moral obligation to do this. i think the outcomes will be different. the surge worked. i don't think this bill is going to work. >> you know after this bill becomes law, the earth is not going to stop spinning on its axis, david, okay? the sky is not going to fall, and i think that the republican characterization of the bill, a government takeover, next week you won't get to go see your doctor, you're going to be kicked out of your insurance and some bureaucrat in washington is going to take over, which doesn't happen, it just won't happen that i think the way republicans have framed this thing and the scare tactics they've used will work against someone once this becomes law because the bad things will not happen. >> don't you have to concede,
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there may be celebrations in the white house and on capitol hill if this gets done but there are a lot of assumptions about the bill, including the financing and budgetary impacts you cannot take to the bank unless future congresses have the courage to live up to the obligations that this congress didn't have the courage to do, fair point? >> here's the deal, david, which is the assumptions in the bill are about both the spending piece and the savings piece do depend on future action but this congress is showing amazing courage by putting the framework in place. i also have to tell you, throughout this debate the republicans have loved to cite cbo talking about spending and they ignore them when they're talking about the savings. it's necessary to do this, to reduce costs in the long run and this congress is showing the courage and future ones will as well. >> i have to make that the last word, to be continued. going to be a dynamic day. thank you all. up next, our "meet the press" minute, remembering liz carpenter, a buy near in politics who died yesterday at the age of 89, after this brief
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station break.
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we are back with our "meet the press minute," remembering noted feminist, prolific author and celebrated humorist liz carpent carpenter. she died yesterday at the age of 89. she started her career as a newspaper reporter and became the first female economic assistant to vice president lyndon johnson. she appeared on "meet the press" in 19677 as the co-founder of the national women's political caw kaus to debate the equal right's amendment with the founder and of stop equal rights. >> i read a poll by a catholic organization which said that 68% of the catholics were pro-e.r.a. but anti-abortion. these two issues have been linked very strongly in the minds of the public.
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you are either pro-e.r.a. and pro-abortion or anti--e.r.a. and anti-abortion, yet there seems to be quite a split, and has the e.r.a. america done anything, are women who are anti-abortion welcome in the pro-e.r.a. movement? >> absolutely. as a matter of fact, i hope that america will read the national plan of action, because it will deny a great many of the things that mrs. schafley has been sega cross this country. the e.r.a. has nothing to do with abortion, nothing to do with co-ed bathrooms, nothing to do with all of the horrors which she has spread across the country and n speeches throughout the country. equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. simply says that. >> one other note about carpenter, on that tragic day, november 22nd, 1963, the day
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president john f. kennedy was assassinated carpenter as an aide to vice president johnson drafted the 58 words johnson spoke to a grief-stricken nation. >> this is a sad time for all people. we have suffered a loss that cannot be leased. for me t is a deep personal tragedy. i know that the world shares the sorrow that mrs. kennedy and her family bear. i will do my best, that is all i can do. i ask for your help, and god's. >> liz carpenter and her family are in our thoughts and prayer this is morning. we'll be right back.
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that's all for today. stay with nbc news and msnbc for complete coverage of the historic house vote later today including a mapup on "nightly news" tonight. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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